AMARILLO, Texas — There have been multiple books written about the afterlife. People have shared what they saw when they died before coming back to the land of the living.
This is one of those stories, but it is not about what the man saw when he died in church. It is what he did not see.
Jay Brent loves telling the story of the day he died in church. “I just love it but it’s so hard to believe it was me. I know he can bring people back from the dead but he brought me back from the dead. It just blows my socks off,” Jay said.
Jay and his wife Chonda are active members at Trinity Fellowship Church. They were sitting close to the stage during a Thursday night service on July 11. That was the night Jay died. “It was a normal day,” Jay said. “We were going to church, we stopped and grabbed a bit to eat. It was a great sermon.”
Everything was normal until Chonda noticed something was not right with her husband.
“I looked over at him and his gaze was set,” Chonda recalled. “That’s the only way I know how to describe it.”
Jay does not have the words, either. “The lights went out,” said Jay. “I was gone for all the trauma. She had to put up with all of it.”
Chonda tried not to panic. She began asking the people sitting around her for help. “I just got down on my knees in front of him and started praying,” Chonda said. “That’s the only thing I knew to do.”
It was at that point someone called for a medic.
Jarett Warren was on call that night. He was sitting out in the hallway when he heard the pastor say “We need a medic.”
“They led me down to Jay, and pastor Larry said, ‘We lost Jay,’” Warren said. “At that point, I looked at Jay and knew he wasn’t there.”
The congregation began to pray with hands extended in the direction of the Brents. Chonda was praying, too.
“I was just pleading with the Lord,” Chonda said. “You know, only God knows what we can and can’t bear, but I didn’t think I could bear that after everything else we had been through in the last year. I was just pleading with the Lord not to take him.”
According to Warren, Jay was already gone. “There’s no palpable pulse,” Warren said. “He was apneic, he wasn’t taking any breaths. He wasn’t breathing. He was dead.”
Warren went to reach around to grab Jay to pull him out to the aisle to start CPR. What happened next was a shock. “He just takes a deep breath and opens his eyes,” said Warren.
The total time elapsed from the moment Chonda begins to ask for help to the announcement that he was back was two minutes and fifteen seconds.
Warren said he has seen a lot in his line of work but he has never seen anything like this. “It’s divine intervention,” Warren said. “It was the Lord at work and I believe in that with all my heart. In fact, that’s the only way I can make it rational.”
Jay has gone through multiple tests and seen his share of doctors. There are still no medical answers, which is fine by him.
There is one question that he could not get off of his mind. Why didn’t he see anything during those moments when he slipped away? Jay said he asked God about it in his prayer time. “He just told me I wasn’t ready to see Heaven in that way, that I wouldn’t have wanted to go back even though it wouldn’t be my choice, but he had plenty of Heaven on Earth for me left. I wouldn’t have been able to live my life knowing I left that behind,” Jay said.
Jay and Chonda are still hoping they find some answers about his health. One of their doctors wants him to wear something called a loop monitor. It keeps track of his heart activity and uploads it to the cloud.